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Feed-in-tariffs – Microgeneration Certification Scheme – MCS

Comment 1st July 2010

Feed-in-tariff legislation made effective from April 2010 in the Energy Act 2008.

This was introduced to encourage a grass roots approach to renewable energy although in February 2010 it was decided to use the MCS scheme as eligibility.

This scheme was only invented to be used as a voluntary standard as known in this notification sent to the European Commission. 

"Certification under this scheme is voluntary, not statutory, and so products not certificated under the scheme will still be able to be sold and installed in the UK. "

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/pisa/app/search/index.cfm?fuseaction=pisa_notif_overview&iYear=2007&inum=458&lang=EN&sNLang=EN

Our experiences with the MCS scheme have been awful. The scheme is not transparent and it does not require their appointed certification bodies to provide transparency on the £10,000 per product it would cost to be accredited annually. A law which usually certification bodies must comply with if it were an international standard. Any amendments or development to our blade design would also require re-testing for a further £10,000. As for the working and steering groups, the head of the MCS personally admitted that even though they are in charge of setting the standards they do not take history and qualifications for the steering and working group members.

They are unfortunately 'quangos' who do not know the difference between their own factory inspection standard and the internationally recognised ISO9001 – both have striking similarities and sentences. Though their argument has been that the ISO9001 inspection does not look at product quality control but production line quality control, they seem ignorant to acknowledge the fact that a production line will only exist where a product is manufactured.

Tomato, Tomato?

While DECC have failed to address our serious concerns they replied a sub-standard email which gave further information on the EC notification for Feed-in-Tariffs. We currently have questions from BSI, OFGEM, OFT and our Local MPs who are waiting for a reply.

"Moreover, it should be noted that payments under the Feed-in Tariff Scheme will not be made only to those with MCS certification: electricity generated using any products which have been manufactured and installed subject to an equivalent process (i.e. with their compliance with equivalent standards certified by an EN45011-accredited independent third party) will also be eligible for the feed-in tariff."

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/pisa/app/search/index.cfm?fuseaction=pisa_notif_overview&iYear=2009&inum=694&lang=EN&sNLang=EN

The EC was notified in Dec 2009 and the standstill period has ended in March 22nd 2010. In this period the government released there final consultation which declared that MCS would be mandatory.

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/elec_financial/elec_financial.aspx

Clearly the notification would have been objected if their true intentions had been shown in December 2009. During the standstill period the Department of Energy & Climate Change have rejected their responsibility to update the EC even though they publicly released consultations saying otherwise. 

We would like the DECC to be held responsible and for an inquiry to take place into why this has happened. Many installers have had to support the extortionate fees by the MCS as they had thought it would be there only option. Not only has the government forced some of us to take significant loans to pay for these bureaucratic schemes but it has mis-led the public to believe it was the only option available.

I also strongly oppose the idea that the MCS scheme has helped build consumer confidence as many of our customers are now more concerned about being eligible than being energy sufficient.

Why does this matter?

We believe the DECC are breaking the law and are being evasive when challenged with such an important issue which has a negative effect on our economy, export and manufacturing.

We have arranged licensing for manufacturing within the UK which included up to 250 jobs over two years in one of the UK's most deprived areas but we are desperate need for clarification on these policies before we proceed.

Large wind turbine companies have had subsidies thrown at them for years (over £400 million last year) which has actually led to manufacturing facilities closing down in our country by luring international companies which lobby with large amounts of funding to secure contracts.

Did you know?

The British Wind Energy Association (profit-led) aren't even members of the World Wind Energy Association (not-for-profit).

http://www.wwindea.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=65

Yet they were asked to sit on the working group for winds and successfully managed to have their own small scale wind testing standard incorporated in the MCS. How a commercial companies interested have been included in a national standard is beyond sense and our knowledge at this time.

 

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